Seamus Fogarty will release his third album, A Bag Of Eyes, on November 6th, which has a more textural sounds to his previous, The Curious Hand. With more dependency on synths and drum machines, there is a movement away from the guitar somewhat, but notably Seamus has been self-producing, experimenting with less traditional ways of music-making.
A Bag Of Eyes was recorded across London, Kent and East Sussex and features Fogarty’s partner Emma Smith, Meilyr Jones, long-time collaborators Leo Abrahams, Aram Zarikian & John Fogarty, as well as someone slightly more unexpected, an audience member recorded live at one of Seamus’ gigs in Dublin.
With no shortage of glitches and recordings, there is truly a pick’n’mix of sounds on this LP. For one, there is industrial judder, slacker-fuzz guitar, a cacophony of saxophones combined with a bairn’s cry. And there is a clear blurring of genre in music across this album as even within tracks he transitions. There is a clear notion to experiment and see what he might just get away with, focusing on the music and certainly not the marketing.
However, we do still get a sense that the music is that of Seamus Fogarty’s – the banjo on My Boy Willie for example wouldn’t go by you, without a realisation of this artist’s work. Shapes, however, the opener, layered and haunting, alternates vibe like Fogarty does instrument throughout this album.
Old Suit and Johnny K, which have already been released, we know what you expect. Old Suit is more a familiar nod to The Curious Hand, whereas Johnny K has a more evolving sound, reminiscent at times of old Beta Band, however oft with a little more discord.
Jimmy Stewart has a bluegrass style, with much use of the slide. Nuns, however, is my personal standout, with a build of discord and a dry humour to the lyrics. Repetitive with a sudden excruciating stop and build of ear-berating sounds, that ends on the note of a baby screaming. With references to tracks like Life in a Glasshouse, there is darkness and improvisation to this particular track.
Much of A Bag of Eyes is similar in that it intellectually takes you by surprise, a collection of observations that are put to synth, ring-modulated drums, occasionally banjo and guitar but with a variety that will not see you dulled after one listen. In fact, I encourage many, particularly to that Nuns track.
Photo courtesy of Dan Wilton
A Bag Of Eyes is available to pre-order, out via Domino Records on 6th November. Pre-order here